BMI today announced the highest revenues in its 76-year history, achieving $1.060 billion for its fiscal year ended June 30. The Company also distributed and administered a record-breaking $931 million to its songwriters, composers and publishers, a 6% increase over last year. These results represent the most public performance revenue and royalty distributions by any music rights organization in the world.

BMI operates on a non-profit-making basis and returns approximately 88% of all revenue to the musical creators and copyright owners it represents.

“We are beyond pleased with this milestone,” said Mike O’Neill, President and CEO, BMI. “The ability to provide our songwriters, composers and publishers with our largest royalty distributions to date proves that the current marketplace is working efficiently, a fact the DOJ has undermined with its recent interpretation of our consent decree. We’re eager to build on this success and continue to ensure that all of our music creators are fairly paid for their work and that licensees maintain full access to BMI’s repertoire of nearly 12 million songs. As of now, the DOJ’s interpretation will disrupt these efforts, stifle creative freedom for songwriters, limit choices for music users and bog down the marketplace. We are determined not to let that happen.”

BMI’s total domestic revenue performance of $784 million was bolstered by record-breaking results in its digital and general licensing categories. Digital revenue, which exceeded $100 million for the first time last year, hit a new high of $152 million, up 50%. Numerous new agreements were signed throughout the year, notably a multi-year license with Pandora, as well as deals with Spotify, Apple Music, Microsoft, Sony’s PlayStation Video and Slacker, among others.

General Licensing, which includes fees from businesses like restaurants, bars, hotels and fitness facilities, along with other income, hit a new milestone of $140 million. The category added 15,000 new businesses to the hundreds of thousands already in BMI’s diverse portfolio.

Revenue from all media licensing, including radio, television and cable and satellite entertainment, grew to $492 million, with cable and satellite entertainment accounting for the largest portion of BMI’s domestic revenue for the third consecutive year. International revenues came in at a strong $276 million, despite significant economic challenges overseas resulting in lower foreign exchange rates. While down 5% year to year in U.S. dollars, BMI’s international revenues would have exceeded last year’s performance by $14 million had it not been for the strengthening dollar.

BMI processed more than one trillion audio performances this year, over 950 billion of which were digital, a 45% increase from last year.

copyright_music-west

WASHINGTON, D.C. –- January 28, 2016 — Today, the Copyright Alliance issued a statement on the recently-released Department of Commerce White Paper on Remixes, First Sale and Statuary Damages.

The Copyright Alliance appreciates the comprehensive and thoughtful discussion of the complex copyright policy issues considered in the White Paper.

According to Copyright Alliance CEO, Keith Kupferschmid, “in crafting copyright policy, we recognize that all interested parties must work together – including creative sectors, technology sectors, user groups and the public – as partners toward the same goal; and our collective goal is a thriving internet ecosystem that incentivizes creators to produce and disseminate new works to the public.” Kupferschmid continued by saying “this partnership should also encourage dynamic innovation and growth for technology companies as they collaborate with creators in making the works available through innovative new legal platforms while benefiting users who are certain to reap the rewards of new creative works offered on new platforms.

lock_sm“We think that many of the conclusions reached and recommendations made in the White Paper published earlier today help advance these goals. The authors of the White Paper did a thorough job soliciting and considering the many different viewpoints voiced by the interested parties, and the final result reflects a broad consensus. In particular, we highlight the White Paper’s discussions of remixes and the first sale defense and endorse its conclusions that the existing provisions in the Copyright Act, in conjunction with new business models, are effectively meeting the changing demands of consumers and that no change in the law is necessary at this time.”

Kupferschmid concluded by saying that “we look forward to working with leaders at the Patent and Trademark Office and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, as well as the other stakeholders, on next steps the Task Force may take.”

The complete White Paper is available for review here.

In today’s music business, a musician needs to understand and receive all the various streams of revenue that they are entitled to for their musical works. However, many of today’s artists are uninformed as to what royalties they are entitled to; and, even more musicians are not properly registered nor have their works indexed. This prevents the artist from receiving all the income earned for their creative works. One of these most important streams of income that many musicians fail to recognize or handle properly  are the revenues collected by SoundExchange.

Sound Exchange is a performance rights organization authorized to collect royalties for the digital performance of sound recordings under Section 114 of the U.S. Copyright Act. The right to these funds was originally established with the passage of the Digital Performance in Sound Recording Act of 1995 and later expanded by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Originally, SoundExchange was created by the Recording Industry Association of America (R.I.A.A.) to handle these new revenues; however, Sound Exchange eventually became its own stand-alone entity representing the interests of over one hundred thousand artists and copyright owners. As of August 5, 2015, Sound Exchange has reportedly paid over $3 billion directly to its artist and label members (http://www.soundexchange.com/pr/soundexchange-breaks-the-3-billion-mark/).

Unlike the other performance rights organizations in the United States that collect royalties for the public performance of musical compositions (i.e., ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC); Sound Exchange is the only entity authorized to collect royalties for the digital performance of a sound recording. Sound Exchange derives its authority, pricing and guidelines from the Copyright Royalty Board, which is appointed by the U.S. Library of Congress. SoundExchange is run by a board of directors that includes nine artist representatives and nine label representatives. This structure gives artists an equal say in the running of the organization.

6a00d83451b36c69e201b7c7ff9ff1970b-800wi
SoundExchange is authorized to collect digital performance royalties on behalf of the owners of the sound recording copyright (i.e., the actual recording of a performance of the musical composition, which is referred to as the “master recording”). Typically, the sound recording copyright is transferred to the record label as a part of the recording contract with the musician. However, there has been an increase in sound recording ownership by the artists themselves as record labels are extending far fewer recording contracts than they had done in the past. This fact is further evidenced by the large number of musicians who are involved in “Do-It-Yourself” music promotion and distribution without any traditional record label assistance.

Additionally, it is essential to understand the difference in the types of revenues collected by SoundExchange and those collected by “small” Performing Rights Organizations, such as ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC in the United States. Performing Rights Organizations collect “small” public performance royalties for the owners of copyrighted musical composition (the underlying musical composition). These public performance royalties are paid to the music publishers, songwriters and composers of the song. For example, when Jimi Hendrix’s version of “All Along The Watchtower” is played over an analog radio station, the songwriter, Bob Dylan (in addition to the song’s publisher) receive royalties from the appropriate Performing Rights Organization as the original composer of the song. In contrast, Sony Music, as the sound recording owner, and Jimi Hendrix, as the featured artist, would receive royalties from SoundExchange for the song’s recordings’ transmission over a non-interactive digital platform, for example, when the song is played on Pandora. Accordingly, companies and artists can collect royalties from both sources (i.e., one royalty for the musical composition copyright and another for the sound recording copyright) as these organizations work with each other to pay musical creators the royalties they have earned from these distinct streams of income.

Under Section 114 of the American Copyright Act, SoundExchange is only authorized to issue statutory licenses for non-interactive digital platforms. These include satellite radio stations (e.g., SiriusXM Radio), internet radio stations (e.g., iHeartRadio.com), non-interactive digital music streaming services (e.g., Pandora) as well as digital cable and satellite TV services (e.g., Music Choice, Muzak, DirecTV, Dish Network). A comprehensive list of all the current licensees is available from SoundExchange at http://www.soundexchange.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/2015-Q3-Licensee-Count-10-19-2015.pdf. For example, Pandora is a non-interactive service as it plays similar artists and songs based on a user’s selections and preferences; whereas, Spotify is an interactive service that enables a user to determine the exact song they wish to hear at that moment.

Each non-interactive licensee pays a statutory rate that is determined by a variety of factors, including the number of stations or channels, the number of listeners or subscribers, and/or the amount of advertising and other revenues earned by the licensee. In contrast, on-demand or interactive music streaming services, such as Spotify, are not subject to SoundExchange statutory licensing. These interactive services must enter into separate licensing agreements with the song’s copyright owners to utilize the works.

To pay its members, SoundExchange receives monthly reports from each of its licensees listing exactly what each licensee has performed that month. This data is compiled and utilized to distribute the licensing fees collected by SoundExchange to the appropriate6a00d83451b36c69e201b8d1897e71970c-800wi
parties on a pay-per-play basis. Of the total amounts collected, 50% percent of these funds are distributed to the owner of the song’s sound recording (typically, a record label), 45% of these funds go to the featured performer on the track (typically, the musician) and the remaining 5% of these funds are distributed to the non-featured performers on the track through the American Federation of Musicians (A.F.M.) and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (A.F.T.R.A.). Additionally, SoundExchange takes a 4.6% administrative fee “off the top” of the total funds collected to handle these matters on behalf of its members.

Additionally, these royalties are very important to an artist as the funds are distributed directly to the recording artist without the artist’s respective share being first distributed to the artist’s record label. Typically, if the record label were to receive these funds first, they could potentially apply the funds against any unrecouped balance amount owed to the label; however, SoundExchange prevents this by distributing the funds directly to the artist. This distribution system is extremely advantageous to an artist, especially those signed to a major record label, as the artist can continue to receive SoundExchange payments without being fully recouped with their record label, which is not the case with most other royalties accrued in the music industry.

Also, SoundExchange currently holds at least $200 million in royalties owed to non-member artists. Most of these artists are unaware of the existence of this relatively new digital performance right and of the organization, SoundExchange, which administers the licensing. With the rise in popularity of Internet radio stations and music streaming services coupled with the decline in CD and download sales, it is essential that record labels and recording artists properly register with SoundExchange to ensure proper collection and distribution of all the royalties owed to them. SoundExchange’s distribution numbers have steadily risen in recent years and should continue to increase as more users switch from downloading media to streaming-based digital music services.

In conclusion, in order to receive the full value of an artist’s work, they should sign-up with SoundExchange and ensure that their musical repertoire is properly indexed to receive all the amounts they are entitled to. Additionally, SoundExchange does not administer royalties on behalf of downloaded material, as that is typically handled by the sound recording copyright owner (the record label).

Collins Connect handles all matters pertaining to music and the law, contact our office for help in registering your copyrights as well as indexing your works with ASCAP, BMI and SoundExchange visit www.collinsconnect.org.

3records

With all of the independent artists that are out there today making a living, and all of the resources and educational tools that are available for them, it seems like staying a free agent is the ideal option (especially with all of the record label horror stories that go around). However, record labels big and small have resources that independent artists have to work much harder to gain access to; there are still benefits to signing that contract.

Here are some of those benefits that you might be able to reap, if your record doesn’t get shelved.

1. International distribution
To this day, even artists who make it big independently often recruit the help of a major label to expand their distribution to a larger marketplace.

Though independent artists can still get radio play (especially on college radio), it’s very difficult, and record labels are better than anybody else at getting artists on the airwaves and into the ears of everyday listeners. Having label distribution also makes it much easier to get copies of your record all over the world, greatly increasing your ability to tour internationally if your album sells well overseas.

Of course, all of this is possible to do on your own, but it’s much more difficult and time consuming. Record labels specialize in distribution and have all of the contacts to make it happen.

2. Help building your team
In order to get any attention from a label whatsoever, you’ll generally need to have already started building a strong team around your brand. This includes people such as booking agents, publicists, lawyers, managers, and anybody else who helps handle the business stuff. Labels have big staffs of these very people on board, and when you sign on with one, they will often fill out your team with anybody you’re missing.

Like with distribution, labels also have contacts overseas, and will help you build a team to have successful international tours (something that is, again, quite difficult and time consuming to do on your own).

stack-cash

3. Advances
Having a successful career making original music is definitely a full-time job plus overtime. In order to make it work, a lot of original artists ditch their day job before they’ve reached financial stability in their music career in the hopes of putting in all of their time and energy to jumpstart it. What ends up happening is many artists essentially living on the road, touring around and around and around the country in order to stay afloat (you don’t have to pay rent on a van). However, they have to stop and take a break somewhere eventually. But if you’re only ever breaking even on the road, what happens when you stop?

This is where labels can help you out. If they sign to put a record out, they will often advance you a certain amount of money (though it’s not nearly as much today as it used to be). While the label does get reimbursed for this directly out of your future record sales (and possibly all of your other streams of income, if you sign the dreaded but common 360 deal), having this money up front can at least allow you to survive while you’re off the road cutting your record.

Of course, advances often backfire. If you don’t sell enough records to cover your advance, you’ll actually end up in debt to the label, which could make your future music career difficult. But if you’re one of the lucky few who get signed and actually sell enough records to stay out of debt, having an advance is a luxury that can keep food on your table when you’re off the road.

4. Legitimacy and reputation
Despite the way the recording industry has been evolving over the last decade or two, record labels are still power players in the world today. Perhaps it’s more out of tradition than respect, but being on a label will still grant your brand a certain sort of legitimacy that’s hard to attain otherwise.

Signed bands get attention. Label affiliation is one of the first things that press, booking agents, promoters, talent buyers, and all sorts of other industry professionals will look at when you reach out to them for the first time (especially if it’s you who’s reaching out, rather than a member of your team).

In fact, there are some folks who won’t even work with you if you aren’t affiliated with a label, unless you somehow are able to work your way into their inner circle or are selling out huge venues on your own.

5. Income potential
It’s entirely possible to make a living as an independent artist, and even a comfortable one. Though it’s hard work, the goal has never been more attainable than it is today, and people do it every day. Getting help from a label doesn’t guarantee that you will make more money than you could make independently. However, those who are able to take full advantage of the label’s benefits can reach levels of success that are still almost completely inaccessible to those who work independently.

For example, what if through the label’s worldwide distribution, your record blows up on multiple continents, leading to multiple successful large-scale international tours? You may be able to work up to that point on your own, but it’s still something that’s much more realistic when you have the “machine” backing you. The chances are admittedly extremely slim, but if the stars align just right, you can end up making much more money than you ever could have independently.

It’s a matter of risk vs. reward. In the end, it’s impossible to say exactly what could go down if you sign the contract. But even in today’s music industry, you can’t deny that labels still carry a ton of power and can be a resource for your success.

Many songwriters aspire to be signed to a music publishing deal, but many do not know exactly what this means and what it entails. Publishing is a crucial aspect of your career, and it’s still at the heart of today’s ever-morphing music business, since it all starts with the song. And publishing can be quite lucrative, so it’s worth educating yourself about.

Generally speaking, there are two types of music publishing agreements these days: a co-publishing deal and a publishing administration deal.

CO-PUBLISHING DEALS

A co-publishing deal is what its name implies – you share the publishing with someone else (whether an individual or a company). You as the songwriter typically assign 50% of your publishing share over to this other entity in exchange (usually) for money. The money can come in the form of an up front advance, or a draw where you get paid in semi-annual, quarterly or even monthly installments. The term of the co-publishing agreement is usually for an initial 12-month year, with options to extend the agreement for an additional year(s). Sometimes, if you are an artist as well, the co-publishing deal might be tied to each album you do.

You take on certain obligations when you sign a deal like this:

A) You must write a minimum number of 100% songs that the signing entity considers commercially satisfactory for their purposes – and if you co-write any of the songs, then the co-written songs only count towards your minimum in the share that you end up retaining (i.e. two 50% co-writes equals one full song, three 33.33% co-writes equals one full song, etc.)

B) If you are not an artist, the agreement might also specify that you have what is referred to as a “record & release commitment.” This means that you must have a minimum number of songs recorded by any artist on a legitimate label and the songs must end up getting released and start to earn income.

If you don’t meet these two main requirements then your next option typically won’t get exercised, and you will be “stuck” in your first contract year. This is why it is important to get proper legal counsel in any deal – the cost of a lawyer can save you thousands of dollars down the road. The entity you sign this deal with takes on its own obligations. It must actively pitch to get your songs recorded by artists, or get them used in film/TV/ads as long as your recordings are of master (and not demo) quality. They also should try to set you up on co-writes with other songwriters or writer/artists. And they need to do all things administratively to register, license and protect your songs worldwide.

The money you are given in a co-publishing deal as an advance must be recouped (i.e. paid back) to the entity that is paying. In the typical 50/50 co-publishing deal, since half of all income is writer’s share and half is considered publisher’s share, you are entitled to 75 cents of every dollar earned (i.e. your full 50 cents as the writer and 25 cents as the publisher, since you assigned half of the publishing away). The entity collects your 75 cents of every dollar and sets it against the advance paid to you, and you won’t see any other income from them until your entire advance has been paid back. In the meantime, they receive the remaining 25 cents of every dollar.

So as you can see, a co-publishing deal is essentially a bank loan with 25% interest. And depending on the leverage you have going into the deal, you may very well have to give complete control of these songs in perpetuity to this publisher (even though you retain 50% of the publishing). Sometimes you can build in a reversion clause where you can get control of your 50% back or maybe even the entire 100% back, but this is a factor of your leverage and your lawyer. So make your decisions carefully and with experienced counsel.

ADMIN DEALS

In the other scenario, you do not assign any of your publishing away. You retain 100% and engage a third party as your administrator to do all things administrative relating to your songs: PRO registrations, registrations in the US Copyright Office, worldwide registrations through sub-publishers to collect your foreign income, negotiating and issuing licenses, collecting your royalties from all sources, etc. Though you retain all ownership in your songs, you do give up a percentage to get these services done for you on your behalf – that percentage is typically 10-15% for domestic income and 15-20% for foreign income.

Some administration deals involve all things administrative but no creative; depending on the admin company you are dealing with, if they have a creative department, you might also get access to the team that would pitch your songs to artists and film/TV/ads. In that case, if they secure a use for your music, you typically have to pay them a higher percentage than what I mentioned in the paragraph above. This is the company’s incentive to go out and try to generate the income for you.

Of course, you could do all this administrative and creative work yourself, but most songwriters don’t have the knowledge or inclination to take care of their catalogue worldwide. You want as much time as possible to write more songs! It should be noted that some administration deals can come with an advance if you have “pipeline income,” or impending significant activity (e.g. a big record coming out). In that case, you don’t receive any of your income until the advance is recouped (just like under the co-publishing deal). But sometimes the percentage the administrator takes will go up if they are giving you an advance – so it’s always a good idea to run the numbers.

Speaking of running the numbers: let’s assume you have a song you wrote by yourself on a record that sells one million copies in the US. That generates $91,000 in mechanical royalties (1,000,000 copies x 9.1 cents as the current mechanical rate in the US). Under a co-publishing deal, you would see $68,250 of that income as your 75%. Under an admin deal at 10% for domestic income, you would see $81,900 of that income. The difference is $13,650. That’s a big difference. So choose your deals carefully, but most importantly, go with a company that you feel will be your partner. Nothing can beat the strength of a great working relationship.

A panel of industry veterans including LEP Bogus Boys and Torae weigh in on how to launch an independent Hip Hop career.


Law 1: Do Your Research
Eric Beasley: Co-Owner of The world’s largest MC Battle League, SMACK/ URL and one of the largest Hip Hop YouTube channels online www.youtube.com/Theurltv. Beasley has also worked as an artist and producer manager in addition to his time at Warner as an A&R.

“Making the transition from your mother’s basement to Madison Square Garden can be extremely difficult in this current climate of the music business. Most labels won’t take a chance on an artist—especially a rapper without any traction. When I say traction, I mean trackable data about you or your brand. This data can be in the form of BDS [Broadcast Data Systems] or Mediabase radio spins, a huge buzz on a mixtape (thousands of on-line downloads, independent sales, or write ups and praise from notable publications) presence on key websites and blogs, significant views on YouTube with a music video or blogs, touring, endorsement from established artists etc. Many ask how this can be achieved when the competition has more money, contacts, management, etc. Getting signed or becoming a huge independent artist takes a plan!”

Law 2: Use Resources & Strategize
Riggs Morales: VP of A&R and Artist Development at Atlantic Records. For more music education insight, visit www.Itsriggdup.com

“Drive: This is the trait is what will keep you moving forward as doubt sets in, as progress is made or as you reach those ‘stand-still’ moments when nothing is happening.

“Creativity: The ability to stand out from the rest starts here. Even if you find yourself in a place clogged by others pursuing the same thing you are (producing, singing, rapping), you should nurture the ability to create something that sets you apart from everyone and will help you stand out.

“Resources: Learn to work with less to get more. You can do just as much with a three people as you can with a 1,000, if it’s all you have to work with. Learning to work with bare essentials will push you to make the best with what you have.

“Strategize: Once you’ve built a cohesive system with what you have, then it’s important to utilize the little you have with a strategic approach. Make every small step count towards bigger steps.

“Vision: Have a clear (and realistic) outline of where you want to be and what you think will take to get there. Know that it will not happen overnight. It will take you time as you develop a rhythm through trial and error, which will ultimately trim the fat off your artistry and unveil the artist you were meant to be.

“Get A Job: You will make no money as you work on your craft, which can lead to a stressful state of mind and interfere with your creative rhythms. Get a job that allows you to pay bills and put food on your table until your ‘passionate hobby’ turns into ‘paying occupation.’”

Law 3: Create Quality Product
Ken Lewis: Multi-Platinum Producer for Kanye West, Jay-Z, Eminem, Drake, Usher, Danity Kane, Jeremih, 50 Cent. More info on Lewis and his online musical tutorial program is available via www.AudioSchoolOnline.com.

“The number one thing young artists forget is that it’s really all about the music. If your song doesn’t instantly and strongly connect to people who don’t know you, you’re not going to make it very far. Don’t listen to your friends and relatives. They love you and want to see you win. Watch the reactions to your music from people you don’t know. Don’t tell me, ‘Well this rapper got signed and his songs suck.’ Really? Is that where you set the bar for yourself? If you want to get noticed, make or find hot beats, and write an undeniable hit. Then do it again, and again, and you’ll get a deal. If it was easy, everybody would do it. It’s not easy, and it takes a ton of thankless, draining, work, coupled with tons of rejection and soul searching. But there are a few who will emerge every year to the top.”

Law 4: Master The Art Of Multi-tasking
L.E.P. Bogus Boys: Blueprint/Infared/Interscope Recording Artists. Follow Count and Moonie via Twitter at @LEPBOGUSBOYS.

“What you got to understand is that whether you’re independent or signed, it all falls on you. So you have to have an immediate team that multitasks and know their roles. We only got a team of five including us, and we all make the mechanism work. When you sign, look for a label that understands your brand not just because they got a lot of money for you. You also gotta build your relationships and stay persistent. That’s how we got so far—because of our immediate outlets of people we can get to. It took a whole lot to build that so strong, but it worked. More than anything, you gotta have good product and challenge yourself to be great.”

Law 5: Value Your Independence
DJ ill Will: CEO of Tha Alumni Music Group & Manager for Kid Ink. Ill Will has worked with and broke some of the hottest artists in the game including Soulja Boy, Chris Brown, Tyga and more.

“No offense to the major labels, but stay Indie and get your paper up before you even consider a major label deal. Trust me, you won’t regret it! Putting yourself at the mercy of a major label is career suicide…unless you’re the rare few.

Law 6: Develop An Identity & A Team
Brian “Z” Zisook: VP/Editor-in-Chief of DJBooth.net

“There are no hard and fast rules or stone cold lock advice that works universally when given to an aspiring artist, who is looking to escape from the confines of their mother’s basement and make it as a professional recording artist. There are, however, several steps that should be taken to ensure that you are giving yourself the best possible chance at future success. These steps include, but are certainly not limited to: finding a team of professionals who believe in you and your music, developing an identity as an artist and branding your stage name and music accordingly, and creating a product that will sell itself.”

Law 7: Be Humble, Realistic & Work Hard
Kyle “KP” Reilly: VP Idle Media Inc / DatPiff.com

“For an artist to have a chance to make it out their mama’s basement and into a label’s boardroom, a lot of things need to happen, including a bit of luck. For the most part, what an artist needs more than anything is a good, realistic head on their shoulders. If your head isn’t right, you have an inflated perception of yourself or of the game, you wont make it very far. Be humble, be yourself and don’t follow everyone else’s or industry trends. Work harder and harder for yourself—not just to talk about how hard you’re working—results will speak for themselves. And lastly, do not spam or annoy those who you are attempting to sell yourself or distribute your music to.”

Law 8: Maintain A Physical Presence
J-Hatch: Co-CEO of I-Standard Producers. www.IstandardProducers.com

“These days, the general perception is that you need an online presence. Many aspiring artists then take to their social networks to send links out to people who in most cases consider that spamming. In reality it’s all about creating a balance—yes the Internet is important and influential. But networking, performing and building a fan base are all equally as important.”

Law 9: Become Business Savvy
Nick Hiersche: President of Coast2Coast Mixtapes & Coast2Coast Live. coast2coastmixtapes.com & coast2coastlive.com

“I think the number one misconception we get is they think others owe them because they made a song. Just because you made a song does not make it a venue’s responsibility to pay you all of a sudden. In order to get a paid booking, you must be able to sell tickets, alcohol or some other type of product for that venue or company. Music business is a business, and you must invest in yourself and your business until revenue starts being generated. If you are not getting paid to perform or feature on tracks, then you have not invested enough in yourself, period. The indie route is a smart route and can be done on a small budget, but it is still a budget. Until you realize this and make smart investments into your ‘music business,’ then it is a hobby, not a business.

The converse of that is that if you want a ‘major record deal,’ you must invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into your ‘music business.’ It takes that much investment for large returns to come in, which is the only thing that interests labels. So both ways cost time, money and of course effort and talent. But in today’s market you don’t really need the major label. You can generate a sufficient income by investing in your indie ‘music business’ until the revenue starts coming. And then you can just collect from the loyal fans you gained from investing!”

Law 10: Maintain Consistency
Torae: Emcee, Founder of Internal Affairs Entertainment, A&R for Soulspazm Records, co-host of Siriux XM’s “Rap Is Outta Control.” www.facebook.com/itstorae – Twitter & Instagram @Torae

“I think the most important thing in today’s market is to be visible. It doesn’t matter if you make the best music in the world if no one hears it or no one knows. So you have to be visible—seen and heard. Do a lot of shows, even if they’re free shows…even if only your family is there. Perform your music. Master it, get it air tight and record it. YouTube has birthed a number of sensations, so definitely have it uploaded and linkable there. You also have to get used to giving away music for free. There is so much competition now, in order for people to know your music, you’re going to have to give some away to build an audience and fan base. Social networking is very important as well. Make sure you’re active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. The more people are into you and what you’re doing, the more they’ll care about the music, and the more they’ll spread the word.

“I did a docu-series last year called ‘Off The Record.’ I think all new and aspiring artists should check it out to get some insight on the ups and downs of the music business. It was filmed during the recording and release of my album For The Record. I did it so that I could shed some light on what it takes on the daily basis to grind out a career in music.”